Following several reports this month and hints from Tim Cook that Retina iPad mini stock could be in short supply when the device launches next month, the hit and miss DigiTimes reports today that the shortages are due to limited supply of displays from Apple’s supplier Sharp. Specifically, the report claims that Sharp’s “Oxide TFT process is seeing low yield rates” leading to a less than ideal supply of 7.9-inch Retina panels. Sharp accounts for around 40% of the displays for iPad mini with Retina display production, while LG Display is providing the other approximately 60%, according to the report:
LG Display (LGD) is another supplier 7.9-inch Retina panels, the sources noted. LGD uses a-Si process and accounts for about 60% of the panels supplied for use in Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display, with Sharp accounting for 40%, the sources said.
DigiTimes also notes that Innolux and AU Optronics attempted to obtain contracts to supply displays for the device but “failed.” The publication says LG Display is also providing around 60% of displays for Apple’s new iPad Air, while Samsung Display will be providing the remainder.
Earlier this month both Reuters and The Telegraph confirmed earlier reports from the often reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that supplies of the iPad mini would be “ridiculously tight” going into the holidays. Some of those reports also attributed low initial supply to display manufacturers, but did not single out Sharp.
When asked about supply of the iPad mini with Retina display during Apple’s Q4 earnings call this week, Tim Cook noted that it was “unclear” if they would have enough supply to meet demand for the quarter. Apple will of course have to wait until sometime “later next month” to find out how strong demand is when the new iPad officially launches.